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Words of Encouragement to a New Mom

Lorene, about two weeks before her passing. 

Tomorrow is my husbands grandmother's birthday.  Her name was Lorene.  She would have been 92 but she passed away almost two years ago at the young age of 90.

I had the pleasure of knowing her for about about fourteen years.  The things I miss most about her are her laugh, her wit and her sincerity.  She was the type of lady who said what she meant and meant what she said.  If she paid you a compliment, it was genuine.  She wasn't the type to blow smoke, if you know what I mean.

After the birth of my first son, I had a very difficult time adjusting to motherhood.  I adored my son but life as I knew it had changed...drastically.  It had nothing to do with the baby.  It was me.  I left a successful sales career, our newlywed social life was non-existent and my husband started Emory's MBA program the day after I gave birth. I had help from my family but many times I still felt terribly alone and questioned myself as a mom.  When my son was eight weeks old, I fell after a nighttime feeding and broke the cuboid bone in my left foot.  That injury left me confined to a wheelchair for six weeks and feeling residual pain for about a year.

As a young pregnant woman, the first question people ask you is, "Is this your first baby?"  As soon as you zealously answer, "YES!!!," you see a smile come across their face, as if they know something that you don't know yet.  It's as if there's a secret motherhood club and no one will tell you the truth behind the rite of passage.

After the baby arrives, you will feel like everyone is watching your every move and judging your every parenting decision.  Strangers, who would have never given you a second glance in your previous life, will suddenly approach you out of nowhere to point out your shortcomings as a first time mom.  They will say things like "You forgot to wipe down the handle on your grocery cart" and "Why  did you quit nursing so soon?" and "You should really make him wear a hat in this weather" and "Can your baby breathe in that baby carrier?"  These types of comments made me question my capabilities and my confidence.

This gets me back to Grandma Lorene.  After Luke was born, she never criticized me or tried to instruct me how to do things like so many women do with new moms.  But she had one of the greatest influences on me during that time in my life.  Other than my own family, she was the only person who ever verbally complimented me as a new mom.  On several occasions she would quietly pull me aside and lovingly say, "Amy, you're doing a great job with that baby."  Those few simple words of encouragement, coming from her, a 90 year old domestic goddess in my eyes, meant more to me than anything in the world.  And that's what I miss the most about sweet, beautiful Lorene.  

Maybe her wise soul realized that I was struggling or maybe she recognized that I was trying really hard to figure out my new role in life.  Perhaps she had been through a similar experience.  I'm not sure.  As a second time mom now, I'm much more confident and care a lot less about others opinions of me.  Maybe it's because I still hear her softly whispering from above, "Amy you're doing a great job raising those babies."